What could make morality objective?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Belinda
Posts: 2796
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:10 pm

Morality can be made seemingly objective if it accords with natural human nature. But nobody knows what natural human nature is.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:24 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
A fact is a linguistic expression that correctly describes a feature of reality, given the way we use the signs involved.
OK, we will come back to this in just a second to show you how much of decision theory you take for granted.

Since you have been insisting on "logical connection" I shall oblige you by holding you accountable to the very highest standards of logic. Just to demonstrate how much of a hypocrite you are.

Just to demonstrate that you care about "logical connection" only when it suits your argument.
if water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, then the assertion 'water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen' is a fact.
By the law of excluded middle, it must also be said that that IF water is NOT a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, and IF that is not how we use the signs "water", "oxygen", "hydrogen" and "compound" then the assertion is NOT a fact.

Remember this picture. You are going to need it in just a second:
decision-theory.png
decision-theory.png (18.13 KiB) Viewed 628 times
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
if water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen
Question: : Is water a compound of hydrogen and oxygen? Either it is or it isn't. Please examine the diagram above.
Lets call the answer to this question P.
given the way we use the signs involved
Question: Is this the way we use the signs "water", "compound", "hydrogen" and "oxygen"? Either it is or it isn't. Please examine the diagram above.
Lets call the answer to this question Q.

And so your proposition 'A fact is a linguistic expression that correctly describes a feature of reality, given the way we use the signs involved' reduces down to the logical expression: P ∧ Q

IF P is true AND Q is true THEN then the proposition is true.
This produces the following truth table

P Q P∧Q (FACTUALITY)
0 0 0
0 1 0
1 0 0
1 1 1

Allow me to translate these into English for you.

You can only assert "factuality" IF you can assert the truth-value of BOTH of the following propositions:
A: Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen.
B: This is how we use the signs"water", "compound", "hydrogen" and "oxygen"

It should hit you on forehead like a 10" Gentleman's sausage that asserting the truth-value of A above is a circular problem to the very thing you are trying to assert as "factual".

So, please enlighten us by providing the two algorithms by which you have asserted the truth-values of P and Q.

Do you know the other name for the word "decision"?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_theory
Decision theory (or the theory of choice) is the study of the reasoning underlying an agent's choices.
So, Mr Holmes. How have you made the yes/no CHOICES above?

The irony, that facts are subject to choice should make you question everything you believe!
Last edited by Logik on Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:57 am, edited 5 times in total.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:43 am

Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:10 pm
Morality can be made seemingly objective if it accords with natural human nature. But nobody knows what natural human nature is.
We do not know precisely, but we do approximately. Given the cohort of 8 billion people we have a sufficiently large sample size to make inferences.

This is why morality at individual scale is really hard, but at social scale is really easy. Utilitarianism.

Age
Posts: 3219
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:17 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Age » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:10 am

What could make morality objective, is the same thing that could make any and every thing objective.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:29 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
Morality aside, I really do want to kick you in the testicles. Because this is probably the 5th time I am asking you to state your criteria by which you evaluate "rightness" and "wrongness"!
I use 'right' and 'wrong' in this context to mean 'correct' and 'incorrect'. Obviously.
You are missing the point. I am pointing squarely at the mental process by which you assert "correctness" and "incorrectness".

Is your assertion of "correctness" and "incorrectness" based on facts, true factual claims about reality.
e.g is your assertion of "correctness" and "incorrectness" objective (as you use those terms), or is it just a subjective judgment?

I think it is subjective and I insist on you being transparent about the values against which you are holding me accountable. I have stated numerous times that the criteria by which I assert "error", "correctness" and "incorrectness" are the laws of logic. My criterion is the law of non-contradiction.

Which is the same as saying "I CHOOSE to VALUE the laws of logic.I CHOOSE to VALUE the Law of non-contradiction".

Because I choose to value the laws of logic I am holding you accountable to the laws of logic.
Because the laws of logic are what they are I can then assert that you are making an error.

A contradiction is an error.
An inconsistency is an error.

Therefore I can say "To contradict yourself is incorrect".

I can further say I am being prescriptive about the laws of logic. After all I am insisting that you should adhere to LNC, and if that is not prescriptivism then I don't know what is.

Now, you either agree to my prescription or you disagree. If you disagree with the LNC then we can go our separate ways because neither of us have any common VALUES by which we can make any assertions of "correctness" and "incorrectness".

So it is of the utmost importance for us to agree on what you have CHOSEN to VALUE so that you can assert "correctness" or "incorrectness" on any subject matter whatsoever. Moral or otherwise.

And we can start with this simple question: Do you value the law of non-contradiction?

I value the law of non-contradiction, therefore I say contradictions are an error.

What laws/rules do you value by which you assert that I am committing an error?

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
And that has nothing to do with moral rightness and wrongness.
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. I'll let you connect the dots.

Without a value-system you cannot make ANY assertions of "correctness" and "incorrectness".

Which leaves you with the hardest CHOICE of your life: Which value-system should you value?

Which value-system DO you value?

Do you think logic is in service of morality, or morality is in service of logic? Which one do you hold to higher esteem?

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:41 pm

Logik wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:24 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
A fact is a linguistic expression that correctly describes a feature of reality, given the way we use the signs involved.
OK, we will come back to this in just a second to show you how much of decision theory you take for granted.

Since you have been insisting on "logical connection" I shall oblige you by holding you accountable to the very highest standards of logic. Just to demonstrate how much of a hypocrite you are.

Just to demonstrate that you care about "logical connection" only when it suits your argument.
if water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, then the assertion 'water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen' is a fact.
By the law of excluded middle, it must also be said that that IF water is NOT a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, and IF that is not how we use the signs "water", "oxygen", "hydrogen" and "compound" then the assertion is NOT a fact.

Remember this picture. You are going to need it in just a second:
decision-theory.png
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:08 pm
if water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen
Question: : Is water a compound of hydrogen and oxygen? Either it is or it isn't. Please examine the diagram above.
Lets call the answer to this question P.
given the way we use the signs involved
Question: Is this the way we use the signs "water", "compound", "hydrogen" and "oxygen"? Either it is or it isn't. Please examine the diagram above.
Lets call the answer to this question Q.

And so your proposition 'A fact is a linguistic expression that correctly describes a feature of reality, given the way we use the signs involved' reduces down to the logical expression: P ∧ Q

IF P is true AND Q is true THEN then the proposition is true.
This produces the following truth table

P Q P∧Q (FACTUALITY)
0 0 0
0 1 0
1 0 0
1 1 1

Allow me to translate these into English for you.

You can only assert "factuality" IF you can assert the truth-value of BOTH of the following propositions:
A: Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen.
B: This is how we use the signs"water", "compound", "hydrogen" and "oxygen"

It should hit you on forehead like a 10" Gentleman's sausage that asserting the truth-value of A above is a circular problem to the very thing you are trying to assert as "factual".

So, please enlighten us by providing the two algorithms by which you have asserted the truth-values of P and Q.

Do you know the other name for the word "decision"?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_theory
Decision theory (or the theory of choice) is the study of the reasoning underlying an agent's choices.
So, Mr Holmes. How have you made the yes/no CHOICES above?

The irony, that facts are subject to choice should make you question everything you believe!
Thanks for your input - and I'm still working on your description of the conjunct.

But I think your analysis may be faulty, because your expression of the second conjunct (B) is unclear, so the decision 'input', as you call it, is misleading. Assertion B should be: We use the signs 'water', 'compound', 'hydrogen' and 'oxygen' to refer to [these things: water, compounds, hydrogen and oxygen]. And as we don't choose what features of reality are (the terrain), true factual assertions about them are not a matter of choice.

And as you are an adherent of classical logic, and therefore the identity rule, I'm puzzled by your conclusion that the fact that a thing is what it is - is a matter of choice. Doesn't excluded middle close that choice down?

Your claim that 'facts are subject to choice' is false, given the algorithm I use - which happens to follow the classical logic of our linguistic conventions. (I assume you're promoting descriptive rather than normative decision theory.) But if facts are indeed subject to choice, then the fact that facts are subject to choice is also subject to choice - so I choose to reject it as excluded from the algorithm - which is merely a process or set of rules or criteria.

Just provisional reactions so far.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:45 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:41 pm
And as you are an adherent of classical logic, and therefore the identity rule.
You have most definitely mistaken me for a classical logician.

I reject the law of identity.

To say "Two things are the same" is a contradiction in and of itself.

How can TWO things be "the same". Can you be the same as me? Can I be the same as you?

The law of identity is a linguistic error, but a pragmatic necessity.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:57 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:41 pm
I assume you're promoting descriptive rather than normative decision theory.
Both really.

As a passive observer (scientist) I refer to descriptive decision theory.

As an active participant in day-to-day life I refer to normative decision theory. It is how I make choices given my values.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm

Logik wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:45 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:41 pm
And as you are an adherent of classical logic, and therefore the identity rule.
You have most definitely mistaken me for a classical logician.

I reject the law of identity.

To say "Two things are the same" is a contradiction in and of itself.

How can TWO things be "the same". Can you be the same as me? Can I be the same as you?

The law of identity is a linguistic error, but a pragmatic necessity.
1 The identity rule is not that two things are the same, but that a thing is what it is: a=a; a rock is a rock.

2 Identity, non-contradiction and excluded middle are (classically) mutually entailed tautologies. You can't accept one and reject the others.

3 Logic deals with language, not reality. The identity rule isn't a linguistic error; it's what makes using language possible. The error occurs when we mistake language for reality - the map for the terrain - as though categories and propositions inhere in reality.

Back to the drawing board?

Belinda
Posts: 2796
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:53 pm

Logik wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:43 am
Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:10 pm
Morality can be made seemingly objective if it accords with natural human nature. But nobody knows what natural human nature is.
We do not know precisely, but we do approximately. Given the cohort of 8 billion people we have a sufficiently large sample size to make inferences.

This is why morality at individual scale is really hard, but at social scale is really easy. Utilitarianism.
You can define the natures of purpose bred animals and truly wild animals. Humans are different as humans are neither purpose bred nor wild but are artificial products of cultures.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:23 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
1 The identity rule is not that two things are the same, but that a thing is what it is: a=a; a rock is a rock.
Meaningless tautology. Obviously a thing is what it is.
But it can also be interpreted as a proposition.

A is one rock rock.
B is another rock

A = B can be true.
A = B can be false.
A = A can also be false.

Depending on the meaning of "=". Logic is infinitely flexible when you only have the LNC.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
2 Identity, non-contradiction and excluded middle are (classically) mutually entailed tautologies. You can't accept one and reject the others.
I do not outright reject LEM, but I consider it on case-by-case basis where the decision-space of the options presented is all-exhaustive.
It is not a universal law.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
3 Logic deals with language, not reality. The identity rule isn't a linguistic error; it's what makes using language possible.
Yes but when you say A=A (rock is rock) and B=B (pebble is pebble) you have already committed an error. Because there is an intersection of shared properties between A and B. Some rocks are pebbles. Some pebbled may be rocks.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
The error occurs when we mistake language for reality - the map for the terrain - as though categories and propositions inhere in reality.

Back to the drawing board?
I am not for a second mistaking language for reality. Reality is reality. Language is what we SAY about reality.
Which is precisely why I do not agree with the proposition that objective morality is a linguistic construct.

For if language were to disappear overnight and our ability to speak disappeared, our morality would not!
Morality is a behaviouristic/contractual notion.
Last edited by Logik on Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:31 am, edited 6 times in total.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:27 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:53 pm
You can define the natures of purpose bred animals and truly wild animals. Humans are different as humans are neither purpose bred nor wild but are artificial products of cultures.
Sure we are complex beasts, but statistical clusters/patterns emerge with such large sample sizes and therefore - so do theories of human values.

I can't say that all cultures embrace "equality" for example, but I can say that majority of cultures see murder as unacceptable.

Things like life, love, variety are some of the "terminal" human values. I repeat: this is through a holistic lens, it's not universally true, but it is cumulatively true.

Charm
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Charm » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:55 am

The only thing that would make morality objective is to have it as an object.. Since morality is a spiritual subject, consider: Morale as opposed to Physic, then it can never be seen as an object.. The world is divided between physical forms of which we can say we have knowledge, and moral forms of which we can only claim a reference and infinite examples none of which can be reproduced in time and space.. We cannot define what is infinite.. Such moral forms are considered as transcendent concepts, where true concept are related to physical being.. Physical concepts, true concepts, have both being, and meaning, and moral forms, transcendent concepts have only a meaning with no being.. This is why moral forms are the source of all conflict in this world.. We inevitably define moral forms as it suits us to, rather than as we can agree to define them..

Charm
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Charm » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:57 am

Logik wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:27 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:53 pm
You can define the natures of purpose bred animals and truly wild animals. Humans are different as humans are neither purpose bred nor wild but are artificial products of cultures.
Sure we are complex beasts, but statistical clusters/patterns emerge with such large sample sizes and therefore - so do theories of human values.

I can't say that all cultures embrace "equality" for example, but I can say that majority of cultures see murder as unacceptable.

Things like life, love, variety are some of the "terminal" human values. I repeat: this is through a holistic lens, it's not universally true, but it is cumulatively true.
We are not beasts, complex or otherwise.. We conceive of ourselves spiritually, so spiritual we are.. We may conceive of others as beasts, but this is purely injustice since they conceive of themselves as of a higher order, then so it shall be..

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:46 am

Logik wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:23 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
1 The identity rule is not that two things are the same, but that a thing is what it is: a=a; a rock is a rock.
Meaningless tautology. Obviously a thing is what it is.
But it can also be interpreted as a proposition.

A is one rock rock.
B is another rock

A = B can be true.
A = B can be false.
A = A can also be false.
A rule has no truth-value, so it's neither true nor false. The identity rule (it's not a law) means: the thing that we call a rock is a thing that we call a rock - which tells us nothing about what the things that we call a rocks are, and why they're different from all the things we call [not-rocks]. And that's why a correspondence theory of truth is mistaken.

But it's also why interpreting the rules as factual assertions leads to contradictions. A factual assertion does have a truth-value, so it can be false. But in your example, you've defined (described) A and B as rocks - applying a linguistic rule. So then, to say that either A or B may not 'be' a rock is to forget your definition and find, unsurprisingly, that what we call a rock can also be what we call a stone. A linguistic expression, such as a=a, can't be simultaneously a rule and a factual assertion. Wittgenstein 101, in my opinion.

Depending on the meaning of "=". Logic is infinitely flexible when you only have the LNC.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
2 Identity, non-contradiction and excluded middle are (classically) mutually entailed tautologies. You can't accept one and reject the others.
I do not outright reject LEM, but I consider it on case-by-case basis where the decision-space of the options presented is all-exhaustive.
It is not a universal law.
Earlier, in the same post, you wrote both of the following:

[1] I reject the law of identity.

[2] The law of identity is a linguistic error, but a pragmatic necessity.

As I've explained above, a rule has no truth-value, so it can't be an error. Your mistake is to treat it as a factual assertion instead of a rule, and then conclude that the rule leads to contradiction.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
3 Logic deals with language, not reality. The identity rule isn't a linguistic error; it's what makes using language possible.
Yes but when you say A=A (rock is rock) and B=B (pebble is pebble) you have already committed an error. Because there is an intersection of shared properties between A and B. Some rocks are pebbles. Some pebbled may be rocks.
Here's the conflation and confusion at work. You're mistaking the application of rules (we call this a rock and this a pebble) for the things and properties we talk about, using the rules. Things and properties don't name, categorise and describe themselves. That thing, with those properties, is not in itself a rock or a pebble - so, of course, we can call it either or both.

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
The error occurs when we mistake language for reality - the map for the terrain - as though categories and propositions inhere in reality.

Back to the drawing board?
I am not for a second mistaking language for reality. Reality is reality. Language is what we SAY about reality.
Which is precisely why I do not agree with the proposition that objective morality is a linguistic construct.
1 As I've shown above, mistaking what we say about reality for reality is absolutely and precisely what you're doing.
2 To be objective is to rely on facts, which are nothing more than linguistic expressions. So what you say here is incoherent.
3 We're back full circle to what the claim that there are moral facts really means - whether, and if so how, a claim such as 'slavery is morally wrong' can be factually true or false. I guess that you mean to say that it is a true factual claim - but sorry if I've misunderstood.

For if language were to disappear overnight and our ability to speak disappeared, our morality would not!
Morality is a behaviouristic/contractual notion.
The word 'notion' makes me want to reach for my revolver. Morality is a ... notion. Wtf does that mean?

If you mean that the social behaviour we describe as morally good and bad is not a linguistic matter - that's trivially true, and also not the moot point. The issue is whether a moral assertion is factual, so that morality is objective (a factual matter). No demonstration so far.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests